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Join The Bicycle Film Festival For A Real Cinematic Ride

By Scott Lucas in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 21, 2013 8:50PM


Shortly after moving to New York City, Brendt Barbur was doored by a van and knocked into the way of a bus—which, of course, hit him. Yup. Ouch. But rather than die, Barbur decided to turn the thoughtless act of a soccer mom into "something positive" and started the Bicycle Film Festival—a celebration of biking culture through film, art, and music. 13 years and over 60 cities worldwide later, and the BFF is back in Chicago for a four day celebration that starts tonight with the, um—Poker Ride (more on that later).

The Chicago version of the BFF is in its sixth year and this time around screenings will be held on Friday and Saturday at The Logan Theater. You can check out the full schedule here, but the international series of programs run the gamut from shorts about people doing rad things on rad bikes (Lucas Brunelle and Benny Zenga's Road Sage is supposed to be especially awesome) to the festival's lone feature, Ciclo, a documentary from Mexico about two brothers retracing their 56-year-old life-changing bike journey from Mexico to Canada. Films start at 7pm on Friday and at 5pm on Saturday. Admission is $10 for each program and $20 for a festival pass.

After graciously fielding my requests for future screenings of Breaking Away, Barbur did mention that he was working on a film himself; a documentary about filmmaker and Tour de France commentator, Jorgen Leth. It's a project that attracted the attention of legendary documentarian, Albert Maysles, who served as a cameraman on the film. Barbur says it's almost finished, so ... maybe next year?

Now back to that Poker Ride. To go along with the films, the Chicago Bike Messenger Association will be hosting a handful of biking events starting with tonight's Poker Ride; an event where cyclists ride to five different bars, picking up a card at each one. Whoever has the best hand wins. And on Saturday and Sunday, the CBMA will be bringing back Cranksgiving, a sort of race-slash-scavenger hunt where bikers have a list of food items to pick up that will then be donated to the Fraternite Notre Dame on the west side. Which is pretty cool, and it also serves as an extension of the cyclist's need to be conscious of the world around him --and to look out for all those busses.

I'm thinking attendance should be mandatory for all those Divvy riders.

The Poker Ride starts tonight at the Blue Frog on 676 N. Lasalle and Cranksgiving meets at Cut Cats Courier on 3251 N. Lincoln Ave. at 1pm on Saturday. All film screenings are being held at the Logan Theater on 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.